James Berardinelli

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For 3,145 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 65% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 33% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 3.7 points higher than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

James Berardinelli's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 66
Highest review score: 100 Lilya 4-Ever
Lowest review score: 0 Bachelorette
Score distribution:
3145 movie reviews
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The only reason Soul Kitchen is being marketed as an "art film" in the United States is because it is subtitled. On merit, this is as mainstream as one can imagine - a generic, feel-good plot that's fit for a sit-com. Call it My Big Fat Greek Restaurant.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Not only is it based on a fairly original premise, but the humor exhibits a distinct edge.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Martha Marcy May Marlene offers a challenging, emotionally riveting experience, even if the conclusion dangles at the edge of an unresolvable cliffhanger.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's fascinating to see how life imitates art; the closing months of Tolstoy's life read like something he might have penned. One need not be familiar with "War and Peace," "Anna Karenina," or anything else written by the Russian great to appreciate the movie, however.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The movie with which it has the closest relationship may be "Glengarry Glen Ross." The same sense of desperation, the same need to make the sale, permeates Margin Call. Both films are to some degree about the dehumanizing impact of money and both are driven more by characters than plot points.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    While having a female director perhaps gives Wonder Woman a subtly different perspective, the real strengths of this production are its lead actors, the period piece setting, and an unexpected emotional resonance that one doesn’t expect from a popcorn movie.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The casting is perfect. Webb has chosen leads who are familiar but not overexposed, and who are on equal footing (neither overshadows the other).
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Offbeat, daring, and the kind of offering Hollywood will never come close to embracing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    In a year when no fewer than five films have dealt with themes of man vs. nature and survival (including The Martian, Everest, In the Heart of the Sea, and A Walk in the Woods), The Revenant is by far the most brutal, challenging, and astounding of these.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is an unusual source of entertainment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Safe does not succeed at everything it attempts. The film is overlong and there are times when more aggressive editing might have improved the pace. However, despite certain dramatic shortcomings, Safe is an insightful and darkly comical social commentary.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    While Cheryl's journey is interesting, it isn't as compelling as the one embarked upon by Christopher McCandless (Into the Wild). The most arresting aspect of Wild isn't Cheryl's perambulation along the 1000-mile long Pacific Crest Trail but the memories that percolate to the surface as flashbacks.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Only a handful of working film makers are capable of presenting the English language with the artistry and rhythm employed here (Tarantino and Mamet come to mind), and the director's approach makes apparently-banal conversations come alive.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's a powerful, affecting tale that uses scenes of the young couple's new love as a counterpoint to Iris' final days - memories of a brightest spring echoing in the darkest depths of winter.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Despite being broadly classified as a “monster movie” and featuring sequences that are as wildly bizarre as any Monty Python skit, Okja has serious messages about consumerism, ecology, and food production.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Witness states its position about clashing cultures with eloquence.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Visually interesting but offers nothing groundbreaking. The animation is competent but not overwhelming. There's no moment of wonderment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The problems with 10 Cloverfield Lane result from attempts to tie it, however tenuously, to the earlier movie. Take away the disappointing, disjointed, and anti-climactic final act, and this is an effective white-knuckle psychological thriller.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Ultimately, however, A Dangerous Method is less about the formative years of psychotherapy and two of its progenitors than it is about a rule-breaking extramarital affair.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Uncompromising, painful, and at times difficult to watch, this movie lays bare more than a few raw nerves. Some viewers will find it too real, too immediate. It's an experience, to be sure, but I wouldn't classify it as entertainment.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    Bold and stirring with impeccable production values, The Last of the Mohicans is a memorable motion picture adventure, and one of the best films of the year.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Like in "Training Day" and "Malcolm X," where he portrayed less than perfect individuals, Washington rules the screen. His portrayal is one of many things that elevates this film to the level of being consistently entertaining and occasionally compelling.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Mud
    Reese Witherspoon's unglamorous, understated supporting work recalls the kinds of films she made before becoming a movie star. Other recognizable faces include Sam Shepard, Joe Don Baker, Michael Shannon, and Sarah Paulson.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The most notable element of screenwriter Dan Gilroy's debut feature is the performance he elicits from Jake Gyllenhaal. In the tradition of Brando, Bale, Theron, and others, Gyllenhaal undergoes a radical physical transformation to play the part of Louis Bloom.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The screen translation of Catching Fire, the second volume of the series, offers its audience many of the elements that made The Hunger Games compelling, but adds to that by deepening the themes and emotional currents and traveling to darker destinations.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's a deliciously amusing and sometimes surprisingly poignant look at the difficulties of being a 15-year old outsider whose chief goals in life are getting laid and making sure his parents don't split up.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    What if Quentin Tarantino collaborated with John Hughes on a teen comedy? Superbad is a decent approximation of what the result might be.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    An enjoyable, although not ambitious, holiday outing.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    The result, regardless of how it was arrived at, is gutless.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Balances character development with plot, and that's crucial to its success.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    On balance, more of the movie works than doesn't, but this isn't 140 minutes of unqualified successes.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Kids for Cash may not be inherently cinematic (a lot of the footage, after all, first appeared on television) but it is compelling.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Likely to bring a smile to your lips and a bounce to your step.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Rango is the poster child for those who are anti-3-D, and a great reminder that genuine creativity doesn't need a gimmicky crutch to appeal to audiences.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It has the audacity that “Primary Colors” should have displayed, but was afraid to. Bulworth is willing to openly offend to get its point across. That's something that “Primary Colors” was nervous about doing.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film doesn't have much of a narrative, and the ending is a little too mystical, but there's still plenty here to engage the attention of all but the most restless of movie-goers.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Formula One fans who remember 1976 will no doubt delight in the film but, for those who (like me) were more interested in other things during the year of America's bicentennial, it's not only a good lesson in sports history but an entertaining two hours to spend in a theater.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Writer/director Mangold never compromises the integrity of his painfully-intense script. There isn't one crowd-pleasing moment in the entire movie, except perhaps the last scene, which offers a flicker of hope.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    It's bland as often as it is affecting, and presents little that's new or original.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It is at times serious and at times very funny. But it is always perceptive, and that quality, more than any other, is what makes it worth a recommendation.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This film is an autopsy of a family that has been sundered by the death of the father and primary care-giver.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The two actors, Daniel Day-Lewis and Emily Watson (Breaking the Waves), give such forceful performances and interact so well that it's impossible not to be mesmerized by their interaction.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    A profoundly unsatisfying experience - and that doesn't consider the derivative nature of the plot and a lackluster performance by the lead actor.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    Bridesmaids is bipolar filmmaking at its most disconcerting, with changes in tone so abrupt that they can cause whiplash. In part because of this and in part because the writing is often lazy and self-indulgent, the movie rarely works.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    One of the singular pleasures of films like The Invisible Woman is the window they offer into the lives of deceased authors who are known primarily to modern audiences only through the words they committed to paper.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The Muppets is a rare family film likely to appeal more to parents than to their offspring.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The problem with An Inconvenient Truth isn't the message; it's the messenger.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a film of powerful ideas, impressive set design, and compelling performances.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Lady Vengeance contains violence (some extreme), but it is not an action film. It is deliberately paced, allowing the audience to have time to reflect upon what's happening. And the comedy is of the gallows variety.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    While this is certainly not the first motion picture to blend drawn creations with real life actors, no movie to date has approached it quite this way.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    It has been said that a Monty Python movie is only successful if it offends everyone in the audience at least once. By that measuring stick as well as nearly any other, The Life of Brian is an unqualified triumph. It makes us confront our foibles and laugh at them.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's a rousing adventure that keeps the audience involved for the entirety of the two hour running time while opening a window into the culture that gave birth to Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Francis Bacon, and William Shakespeare.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    With its appealing blend of animated comedy, romance, and adventure, Shrek 2 follows the formula of its predecessor while maintaining enough originality not to come across as a direct copy.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 38 James Berardinelli
    From narrative to character development to staging, every frame of Mistress America drips with artifice. It's a playground for unpleasant, self-absorbed characters - an excursion into the lifestyles of people most of us would prefer to bypass. If there's an antonym for self-awareness, it applies to nearly everyone populating this misfire.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Spy
    The problem is that writer/director Paul Feig became too enamored with his storyline which, at best, could be described as a lame James Bond parody.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is “more of the same” but, at least in this case, that’s a good thing.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The rarest of movies - a literary multi-character drama. From the erudition of the voiceover narrative to the three dimensionality of the characters, Field's film is the closest it's possible to get to a book without reading one.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    T2 features bigger, bolder, more energetic action sequences than its predecessor.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    The Wolf of Wall Street joins "After Hours" as the most openly comedic films Scorsese has made.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Those who attend this movie expecting to see a superhero smack-down won’t be disappointed, but anyone partial to Captain America’s saga may feel shortchanged.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The richness of its tapestry, densely woven from human emotions and character interaction, ensure it will never lose that relevance.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Originality may be at a premium here, but The Full Monty offers plenty of opportunities for laughter and genial smiles.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A delight for anyone who loves to absorb dialogue. The movie is almost all talk and no action, and possesses the "feel" (although not the pedigree) of a stage production translated to the screen.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's a simple story told well, with plenty of lighthearted moments and kernels of thought-provoking material, but little to really excite the cinematic appetite.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    There's something delightfully old-fashioned about Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects. It's the kind of thriller that Alfred Hitchcock might make if he was still alive and active today.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Tonally, it’s closer to the Adam West television program than to any of the subsequent incarnations, although (if possible) The Lego Batman Movie takes itself even less seriously.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    This combination of storytelling, singing, and corny comedy is sometimes a little too slow and long-winded for its own good, but at least the aftertaste isn't bitter.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    We've seen this story so many times that it's starting to wear thin. In many ways, Kicking and Screaming is mildly enjoyable, but all it really does is go over old ground with new characters.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    As written by the brash, funny, and often vulgar comedienne Amy Schumer, Trainwreck is brash, funny, and often vulgar. Its raunchiness is a perfect match for the man who made "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up."
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Not a daring film, but it is immensely likable. Every once in a while, a movie comes along that, despite traversing familiar terrain, is made with enough all-around skill that it overcomes its clichéd origins. About a Boy is such a movie.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Despite being a little rough around the edges (as is often the case with the work of maverick documentarians), This Film Is Not Yet Rated is more than just an angry diatribe against the MPAA.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The film offers everything one could ask for from popcorn entertainment.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A pleasant dramatic comedy that overcomes its tonal inconsistencies by presenting an engaging lead character with whom its virtually impossible not to empathize.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 38 James Berardinelli
    As a satire on the media's infatuation with violence and murderers, Natural Born Killers hits the bullseye. The problem is, this is a one-note movie. It repeatedly hammers home the same point until the audience is bludgeoned into senselessness.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    Consistently hits the right notes, earning both the tears and smiles that result.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    As a documentary, this movie has the same problems as all of those in Moore's oeuvre; as a polemic or a visual op-ed piece, it's an effective piece of filmmaking.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    A compelling, thought-provoking, and unsettling drama.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 50 James Berardinelli
    Is it A Bigger Splash or A Bigger Bore? Despite a strong cast, gorgeous cinematography, and a suffocating sense of sexual tension, this movie takes far too long to get off the ground.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    The humor - and there's enough of it that Tabloid could be categorized as a comedy - is unforced, arising as it does out of these truth-is-stranger-than-fiction circumstances.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    This is a more personal movie for Burton than one might initially suspect. The very fact that he elected to re-tell this story after 28 years is an indication of how much it means to him. And I wouldn't be surprised to learn that, as a kid, he had a dog named Sparky.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One hell of a ride. For better or for worse, it will leave you stunned and reeling.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    To reboot the X-Men franchise, director Bryan Singer, who first gave these characters screen life fourteen years ago, has crafted a continuity-lover's nightmare.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The Sea Inside is uplifting. This is a movie that may cause viewers to both laugh and cry.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    It's refreshing to encounter a movie with a logical, intelligent approach to the dangers of zipping through time.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's better than 90% of the animated fare of the last few years. It's refreshing not to have to qualify the movie's appeal by appending the words, "for the kids."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The versatile actor brings the full weight of his talent to bear on a difficult role. DiCaprio has to hint at unpleasant secrets in Cobb's past while forging a bond with the audience. It's up to the performer to make Inception more about human beings than about special effects. He succeeds and that's one reason why this movie isn't only about challenging ideas and eye candy.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    A fast-paced, engaging science fiction adventure tale.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Director Kevin Macdonald has fashioned a film that is at times nearly as harrowing as his previous endeavor, "Touching the Void."
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    For those who enjoy ghost stories and are willing to be patient with a movie that gradually unveils its secrets rather than uncovering them all in an orgy of violence and terror, The Orphanage fills a need. The spell it casts early does not evaporate until the epilogue is finished.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    One of the best thrillers I have seen this year: tight, taut, and unpredictable.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    By entering such fertile, intellectually stimulating and psychologically rich territory, Estes provides us with a freshman feature that is far beyond the generic coming-of-age tale Mean Creek initially seems to be.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 88 James Berardinelli
    The purpose of Bully is to educate and promote discussion. If the problem is not solved, there will be more Columbines and additional stories like Tyler and Ty's.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Most of the film is dull and soporific. Breathtaking photography without emotional involvement can take an audience only so far.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    A film of uncommon depth, intelligence, and sensitivity.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    It's an uplifting motion picture that will bring smiles to faces, and Boyle's trademark irreverence keeps the feel-good experience from becoming too saccharine.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 100 James Berardinelli
    You don't just watch Titanic, you experience it.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Petersen takes what could have been a muddled motion picture and structures it perfectly, creating a strong piece of entertainment. It helps, of course, that he has a capable cast.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Historical fudges aside, Hidden Figures provides an example of determination and talent triumphing over an unfair and repressive system.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 James Berardinelli
    Regardless of how you look at Oldboy, it's unlike anything you are likely to have seen before.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 63 James Berardinelli
    Enjoyable, but it's a shallow enjoyment.

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